Ciro Zizolfi bespoke tweed jacket: Review

Monday, December 10th 2018
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Now and again, a bespoke commission is almost seamless.

At every fitting, you like the look of the jacket and almost nothing seems to be needed on the fit.

Just as importantly, the tailor delivers what they say they will: the jacket is always ready for the next stage; the details you discussed last time have all been done.

This was my experience with Ciro Zizolfi, the small Neapolitan tailor long used by filmmaker Gianluca Migliarotti.

Gianluca is keen to give Ciro (below) some wider exposure, and on this evidence he deserves it. He also travels with his son, Andrea, so there’s a clear future there. 

The jacket I picked was classic Neapolitan: three-roll-two buttons on the front, patch hip pockets, welted chest pocket.

However, Ciro’s style is definitely traditional Neapolitan - so roomy, no wrinkling at the top of the sleeve, and certainly not tight or short like some of the younger or newer cutters.

The shoulders aren’t extended, but they’re certainly not small either. There’s a little drape in the chest, some room in the back, and a length similar to many English tailors (finishing on the second joint of my thumb).

This is more the traditional style created by Vincenzo Attolini in Naples, and passed down to his son Claudio Attolini and Ciro Palermo - both of whom trained Ciro.

By comparison with others tailors covered previously, it’s more similar to Ciardi than to Solito or Ettore de Cesare, for example.

It’s still distinctly Neapolitan, with a lightweight construction, generous rolling lapel and open quarters (the opening below the waist button).

Things like the touch of roll in the sleevehead do make it a little smarter than other Neapolitans, though, and it’s borderline as to whether it works with very casual trousers, such as jeans.

I think it does - just - but it would be a better partner to denim if it were a touch shorter, and a little more natural in the shoulders.

I’ve found the same with Ciardi and with Panico - where Caliendo and Solito, for example, are more casual.

I might experiment with reducing that roll and shortening the jacket slightly, in any future commission.

The back of the jacket is very clean, as you can see, though this is definitely helped by the heavy cloth and slightly looser fit. (So much easier to get a clean look with a little looseness - as with my Steven Hitchcock donegal).

The only small fit issue is just below my left shoulder (always a problem area) where the tweed is collapsing slightly and could be lifted. But in other photos this looks perfectly smooth.

A small style point I might change is the position of the hip pockets, which Ciro has placed rather close to the bottom edge. It’s a matter of half a centimetre, but I’d still move it.

And the breast pocket is rather low - 11 inches from the shoulder seam rather than the more standard 10. That too I would raise.

The quality of the finishing is among the best from Naples, with top stitching around all the external seams (though not really visible on the cloth).

That cloth is a 15/16oz tweed from Holland & Sherry (892017) - in the same Harris Tweed bunch as my brown-tweed Caliendo.

That’s heavy enough to be outerwear most of the time, but very effective outerwear, given Harris Tweed’s wind and water-resistance.

I’d wanted a green-tweed jacket for a long time, and considered this one several times.

I thought the various primary colours in the yarn would be too bright, however. They didn’t instinctively appeal in the same way the ones in the Caliendo tweed did.

Turns out I was wrong. It works brilliantly made up, and if anything is more useful than the brown tweed, as it’s darker.

Hopefully this is a helpful thing I can do for readers: not just write about mistakes, but highlight surprising successes as well.

The shirt pictured is my second from 100 Hands. The fit is perfect now, though I’ve found this material a little hard to wear.

Its colour is great, a red and white stripe that makes a nice compliment to green. (Always worth considering opposing colours on the colour wheel.)

But the fabric is hand-woven (on a manual loom). This makes it very light and breathable, plus it looks nice and casual - more like linen. But as it uses a rather coarse cotton, it makes it slightly scratchy against the skin.

Hand looms can’t use the finest of cottons, but they can be finer than this. So I might try that from 100 Hands next time.

Ciro is currently travelling to London only, and of course can be seen in Naples at Via San Pasquale, 4.

I should say that another advantage he has (as does Pommella for trousers) is having Gianluca there to meet clients. Not only does that mean fluent English, but Gianluca has taste - something I think it's fair to say is often lacking among tailors.

My jacket was €2500; suits start at €3300. Contact is [email protected], by phone on +39 081411749 or +39 3383758872, or through Gianluca.

www.sartoriacirozizolfi.com

Elsewhere I’m wearing trousers in grey Pardessus cloth from Holland & Sherry, made by Whitcomb & Shaftesbury, and my vintage folio case from Bentley’s.

Photography: James Holborow, except Ciro portrait. Photography in situ shown during a visit to the Joshua Ellis mill. Full article coming soon.

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Sam

Lovely. Digging the single sleeve button as well.

Robin

Beautiful cloth and a very good fit.
It’s almost refreshing to hear you not find any flaws !

Out of curiosity if you were to take something in that cloth and cut and then proceed to make a ‘block’ for MTM what would the process involve ?

I ask as much of what exists near me is MTM (sometimes masquerading as bespoke) and I’m tryin to understand how such a block would be created.

Anonymous

Lovely jacket and colour?

Stephen Pini

Simon,

I’ve been looking forward to this review. The jacket looks good, although I do appreciate your point regarding the drop on your shoulder, something I expect would be corrected for entirely in your next commission.

A suggestion, considering your vast experience with Neapolitan tailors it would be great to have an article / guide / series comparing the various styles and fits. As you mention Ciardi and Zizolfi are more traditional (and more akin to my taste) vs. Solito and Caliendo.

Thanks again,

Stephen

David

Where would Dalcuore stand in relation to those 4 (Ciardi, Zizolfi, Solito, Caliendo)?

Hugh

can you recommend a source/ merchant for the shirtings, Simon?

Hugh

perhaps there may be a market for a run of PS hand-loomed shirt fabric….?

H

Off topic but I’m not sure where to ask: what do you know about Zaremba in Warsaw? What is their house style and are you planning to review them now they’re travelling to London?

T

I’ve been a fan of Zaremba’s work for a very long time, so it’s not very easy to write this kind of feedback. I’m not sure if it’s any different during trunk-shows, but in Warsaw they have been extremely unreliable with delivering results on agreed date. It has happened that nothing was prepared for a fitting when I showed up.
I’ve seen similar comments popping up on Instagram and then posts being taken down. This is very unfortunate as I think that the product is of great quality.

Sven

Welcome to the team, T. I also find Zaremba’s craftsmanship pretty good. However, along all my orders I have been feeling extremely disappointed with the end results and the lack of professional attitude towards a customer.

Rob

Zaremba is a great example of very unprofessional service. Better to avoid.

H

Thanks Rob, Sven and T – good to know. Sounds like its better to avoid then, shame!

Oliver

Just lovely. I wouldn’t change a thing. Out of interest where is the middle button positioned in relation to your belly button?

GONZAGUE

The sleeves look too short, especially in the front, are they not?

JB

I know it’s a classic neopolitan style, but the single sleeve button always looked a bit strange to me. Seeing it here, I would almost argue you could forgo it totally, having a clean sleeve with not button or holes. A subtle but nice quirk on a heavier jacket like this, imho.

Martin

With all the different colours in the cloth, I was wondering where you would place this jacket on the warm/cold scale you wrote about in April?

Anonymous

Simon do you think the colour of this mossy green Harris tweed sport coat: https://bergbergstore.com/collections/tailoring/products/dan-ii-harris-tweed-single-breasted-blazer-moss-green -would be as useful as your forest green one, or less so? For wear in town with denim, flannels, tan cords/chinos. Cheers

Burt

How would a similar jacket in loden cloth compare to this one in tweed as to wearability? Just asking because at first sight, this looked like a loden to me, but then the tweed has much more colour variation.
I think Martin is right, the jacket has an interesting middle position on several scales, e.g. formality (dress up vs down), versatilty (outerwear), seasons (autumn, winter spring)…

David G

Loren and moleskin of the same texture.

Really?

Are you sure you;re not mistaken here Simon?

David G

But Loren is made of wool, and moleskin of cotton.

rups

The fact its long and lean with no structure creates a problem in that there is not enough shape coming in through the waist and back out into the skirt. To my eye it gives the impression that you’re wearing a tube.

I understand that structure wears warm and feels constricting, but going to the other extreme by removing as much as possible creates aesthetic issues. The pioneers of tailoring Im sure didn’t go out trying their hardest to use masses of wadding, horsehair and canvass but came to realise that they just needed it to create shape. I think the reason most of the Neapolitan tailors who have the least structure brought the skirt higher and higher was because you just cant flare the skirt out well without it (The romans made do with partial structure and the florentines tried to compensate with the extreme curve of the front of the skirt). Thats why the modern Neapolitans as you call them have just got a last vestige of skirt, at least they don’t create a long tubular jacket, although what they are left with is a boxy look instead.

Not for me Im afraid.

Anonymous

The starting point is not really about how much structure a coat has, its more the shape of the wearer.

A schoolboy physique is never going to have much in the way of shape, regardless of the amount of padding/canvas etc. Its still going to look tube like.

Strong shouldered folk with slim waists are always going to end up with a coat that has shape as they are providing the right infrastructure for it.

Ben

This seems like pretty standard neapolitan fare as far as structure goes, so Rups’ comment is dismissing a vast tailoring tradition. I agree that in a vacuum a more structured jacket usually makes for a better looking silhouette, but there are considerations other than the silhouette that apply when designing a jacket. (I prefer less structure on the weekends, for example.) And as far as the tubular form goes, it’s the American sack suit that sets the standard.

Anonymous

Simon looks to have a very shapeless physique with sloping shoulders, so it is very hard with soft tailoring to get much shape into a garment.
By contrast, look at the Sexton DB, where structure and roping “creates” a strong profile

Anonymous

Sorry, not meant to be unkind!! Only to say that a more trapezoidal top will automatically give more shape.

Rups

Well, a tall man with strong shoulders, a lean body with a V shape is always going to make the best frame to hang clothes on. Without trying to give Simon a complex, I think he has a pretty good physique to analyse how tailoring is going to look. He’s tall and slim which is the main thing.

I get the idea of Italian rumpled comfortable tailoring. Naples is an extreme though. Their jackets are like wearing a cardigan as there is essentially nothing in them. The kind of guy it seems to suit best is a young slim guy like Jake Grantham from Anglo (he wears a shorter jacket though which avoids that tube look). However, its still never going to convey that strong look of masculinity and power which an traditional SR suit does when done well. If you work in certain fields and have an informal social life perhaps this isn’t what you want to go for anyway. However Ive always wondered why not just wear a pair of jeans and a cardigan instead? To me the latter looks better and more natural on most guys anyway as great looking tailoring seems to have become a rare thing these days.

Rabster

In terms of cost how much would the cloth alone cost ?

Furthermore , as a general rule what percentage of the cost is for the cloth , trimmings etc ?

Anonymous

Simon

They do sell direct. I bought some cavalry twill from them. But be warned, they are very expensive.

Marcus

Talking about price: is there a difference between Naples price and trunk show price?

Scott

Great looking! What is the lapel lapel width at the widest point?

Scott

Thank you. I prefer a thinner lapel and assume that Mr. Zizolfi would honor that request along with a slightly higher button stance? I’ve gone back and forth on the two vs three button model, but this three roll two looks fantastic. Overall, this is one of your best jackets.

Harry of Monmouth

Loden:
Which I’m a fan of, yes your right normally associated with Over Coats, is available in lighter weights (suitable for every day wear Jacket) Do remember, one of lodens virtues is its rain repellent

Dan

Simon, in the vein of smaller Italian tailors that deserve a bit more exposure – any plans to do a review of Biagio Granata? I noticed during a trunk show this summer that he’s made up one or two pieces for you. I have one jacket from him so far with two more on the way and the fit was spot on (and the price reasonable).

Dan

My experience has also been that it takes a very, very long time for delivery. It makes me wary of commissioning additional garments beyond the 1 delivered and 2 on order so far, but I guess we’ll see. The fit on my one jacket so far was excellent.

David

I’m a customer of Biagio since two years now. What can I say? Yes the customer service is a disaster BUT he is a very honest guy and a gifted tailor and can deliver a great product at a great price at two conditions:
1/ You must speak italian. If you don’t it’ll generate big misunderstanding from the beginning. At least give him a precise sketch of what you want.
2/ Manage him if you want a consistent product: his house cut is very slim and too short. If you give the right indications he can tailor a very very good garment.
Finally I’d recommend to visit directly in Naples. Last time he made me a jacket in one week. If you use him in a trunk show it’ll take at least one year. So be patient. Curious to read Simon review.

Christopher

Dear Simon,

one question which not quite belongs to the topic. May I ask which notebook you are using? Since a long time I am searching for a notebook in DIN A 5 size, preferring tan or cagnac toned leather with the opportunity to replace the book, when it’s full.

Charles

I think this jacket is very flattering, Simon.
I think you’ve got the numbers on the breast pocket placement the wrong way around.
When you do a one-button sleeve, is it sham or functioning?

Cheers

Anonymous

Simon

Are the buttons shiny or matt?

Anonymous

Any suggestions on where to buy matt buttons? I’ve tried Bernstein but their selection has narrowed significantly over the years.

Anonymous

I wanted dark brown matte in sizes 23 and 32 but there doesn’t appear to be any. Are you suggesting the website is not up to date?

Anonymous

Matt.

Scott

Dugdale do some nice dark brown matt horn

Ben

It’s a well-cut jacket, but the fabric is difficult. It looks mossy and appropriately placed far left on the rural-urban spectrum, so flannel doesn’t quite work with it. That shade of green doesn’t work well with dark denim. Maybe brown tweed or moleskin? But then you’d look like a frigging tree. I don’t know—seems very restrictive to me.

Highly personal opinion

Jason

I love the cut and cloth but don’t think the trousers and shirt complement it at all well.
This makes the colour of the jacket extremely difficult to judge.

Greg

Hi Simon, will there be a review of the 100 hands shirt at some point in the future?

R

Simon,
Given your knowledge of the suit makers in Naples, I was wondering if you could opine on Eddy Monetti? I know it is mostly RTW, but they may do bespoke as well. Certainly for a fact their prices are much more competitive, especially when compared to the more famous fashion houses like Canali or Corneliani.

Marc

Hi Simon,
Always a good read, thanks for your posts.
In your opinion which mill/distributor has the best tweed? Taking into accounts designs, wool used, construction etc..
Obviously H&S has some very beautiful designs but are there smaller, lesser known and more “traditional” mills? Perhaps in Scotland, Northern England?
I’m trying to organise a road trip in that area for next summer, would be very nice to visit some good old places.
Thanks again,
Marc

Sunny

Hi Simon,please could you email me the name of the writing journal you are using on the piece and where can I buy them?
Thanks

JC

Hi Simon,

How does Zizolfi compare to Sartoria Dalcuore in terms of quality and style? Would one be a better fit for a tall, athletic figure over the other? For my first ever bespoke commission, would you consider one easier to communicate/work with?

I’m based in the US. Ciro says he will begin making visits to NYC this summer. Would you have any concerns about beginning a project with him in Napoli (I’ll be visiting in May) considering he does not have an established presence in the US? A return trip to Napoli would be unlikely.

Appreciate your insight!

Stephen Pini

Hi Simon,

How do you find Ciardi vs Zizolfi?

I’ve noticed Ciro is coming to the UK more often now, like Ciardi (every quarter for the last three months).

Thanks,

Stephen

Hugh

Was the collapsed shoulder ever fixed?

Henry

Simon, lovely jacket! Kindly advise me if similar color tweed jacket would work with PS Everyday Denim shirt, mid gray flannel trousers and brown penny suede loafers? Thank you in advance.

JB

Simon, seems Ciardi and Zizolfi are getting more and more space in your closet these days, and for good reason indeed.
Any plans to try that more casual shoulder, similar to what you did with the gun club Ciardo, on Zizolfi too?

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
Could you comment on what style changes you decided to do with the second Zizolfi jacket in PS Escorial tweed?
Did you change the shoulder? Also, could you comment on the lapel roll on the Zizolfi jacket. I find that it opens very early (close to the upper part of the jacket) and you can see the 1st button as opposed to other Neapolitans. The lapel roll bothers me a bit and some of the pictures I do not like, on others it’s perfect. (I understand I should judge too much based on pictures.) Your comments would be highly appreciated as I have an appointment with Ciro for next week in London and the lapel roll is the only thing that makes me a bit uneasy. Is it more a result of the construction or of ironing?
Best regards,
Alex

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
I will just go with it as it is and see how it turns out. I have to see how I like it once it is finished. I hope I do, I am certain that they will do a wonderful job. Thank you very much.
Alex

Alex N.

Dear Simon and readers,
Such an irrelevant worry. Amazing work, very nice people and the style is extremely nice and elegant. No exaggerated roll, just beautiful. Instagram/ photos are so misleading, it’s hard to explain. Very reassuring meeting and looking forward to working with them.
Alex

Noel

Do you tend to prefer 3-roll-2 with Neapolitans? Or for more casual jackets? Isn’t tweed a bit too springy, making it look more like a 3 button jacket? Your jackets from say Steven Hitchcock are 2 buttons instead.

JC

Hi Simon,

I’ve had sport coats made with Ciro and now plan to commission a suit with him. Do you know who makes his trousers? Marco C. makes my odd trousers now. Would it be appropriate to request he make trousers on a Ciro suit?

Also, do you have a multi season mid gray worsted twill recommendation offhand? Appreciate your input as always.

Anonymous

Does H&S still offer this dark green fabric?

What do you think of the weight? Would you prefer it to be lighter (11 or 13 oz)?

Why don’t you make your Escorial wool in brown and green closer to your H&S tweed, since you said yourself they get more wear because they’re darker.

Anonymous

Is it the new number 100% exact same fabric as yours simon?

And yes how do you feel about the 15 oz weight for Southern Cali? What’s a good tweed weight for that area?
Gracias.

Zy

Simon, this is such a lovely jacket! But can I just confirm, are you sure it is 891019 and not 8919017? It looks rather more green than the former, which appears to have more brown tones? Thanks!

Zy

Thanks Simon, much appreciated. I am hoping to have one of the two made up for my second jacket shortly (after navy, of course). Out of interest, if you wore this with charcoal flannels and a blue OCBD, what, if any, tie might you pair this with?

Zy

Thank you Simon! Good to hear. Do you think even a navy grenadine would work, or would that be pushing the formality of this jacket?

Raphael

Are the rounded ends of the sleeve typical for Zizolfi?
I find them a bit unfavorable, since they will expose more shirt on some points than on others.

Louis

Hi Simon, I was lead to this article by your most recent on Willy Wang [site linking working well]. How versatile do you find this weight of cloth for wear in the UK? I was wondering between which months this weight is appropriate. I ask as I am expecting /delivery of a 17/18oz tweed jacket shortly, ordered for the cooler months of the year and I would like a second perhaps more versatile weight that retains the look/ feel of tweed.

John

Hi Simon, may i ask how versatile you find this cloth to be, and how frequently do you reach for this jacket? I am building a wardrobe at the moment and have started with your brown escorial tweed. I really like these hairier tweeds though, for something more casual, and dark green seems like the way to go. Naturally i will go for a softer cut (probably Prologue or Anthology, as i live in Asia), to offset the country side association of tweed.

I know i should get a navy jacket next, but i don’t require that level of formality in my dress, and – if i am honest with myself – i love the color and texture variation that tweeds like this give, which i am yet to see recreated in a navy cloth. Navy tweed has the texture, but limited color variation it seems; do correct me if i am wrong.

Many thanks.

John

Many thanks Simon, that gives confidence and it is top of my list for a next jacket. As mentioned, I am building a wardrobe and I find myself having to be careful not to buy things too quickly/rushed, a point I remember Aleks making in a video with you. I try to mull things over for a month or two before making a decision, and to stay away from shiny items (an orange Todd’s messenger bag I bought being testament to when that didn’t happen).

I see the weight of tweed as neither a positive nor a negative. In the same way that there is no bad weather, only the wrong choice of clothes, it all depends on how a tweed jacket will be used. Personally I feel the cold more than the heat, and would like to be able to wear it as an outer layer.

Many thanks again.

Alexander

Dear Simon! Just to get a reference regarding the colour of this green tweed from H&S: Is it similar to this green tweed from B&B: https://bergbergstore.com/products/dante-tweed-blazer-brown ? I know, always troublesome to have to judge from pictures…
I also want to avoid the “elegant farmer” sphere and so I am interested in dark enough shades of green.
You said this green cloth from H&S might be more useful than your brown one, but you launched the brown one some weeks ago and you called the brown “your favourite” from H&S. But the dark green is still in theory more versatile?
Thank you very much!